BUJUMBURA September 21st (ABP) – The elected representatives of the people insisted on asking the Minister of Health why doctors are leaving abroad and what the Ministry of Health intends to do to stop those movements.
That concern was raised on Tuesday September 19, 2023, during an oral question session with the Minister of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS, in relation to the performance audits carried out by the Court of Auditors in Cibitoke, Muramvya, Muyinga and Rumonge hospitals for the period 2018-2022
The Minister of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS, Dr. Sylvie Nzeyimana responded that this issue is of great concern to the ministry and that it is currently considering it to see if solutions can be found. The Speaker of the National Assembly, Gélase Daniel Ndabirabe, for his part proposed establishing special treatment for doctors to stop those movements, explaining that their departure is a great loss for the country.
The Chairman of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Finance, Economic Affairs and Planning, Hon. Nestor Ntahontuye recalled that, according to article 183 of the constitution of the Republic of Burundi, the Court of Auditors is responsible for examining, judging and certifying the accounts of all public services. The said commission analyzed the said reports in order to make observations and make recommendations. According to the honorable Ntahontuye, the reports produced by the Court of Auditors mainly focus on the description of the state of the provision of healthcare services, the management of human resources and their workforce, premises, medical equipment and security. of the assets of the audited hospitals.
From the point of view of the adaptation of premises to healthcare services and the management of medical equipment, the Court of Auditors noted that for certain hospitals, there is a lack of recovery rooms, hospital rooms in poor condition, the lack of lighting mechanism, the insufficiency of toilets, the lack of water and fencing, the insufficiency or poor condition of the equipment.
Those elected representatives of the people also specified that the report of the Court of Auditors of certain hospitals shows that there are hospitalized patients who escape, which has a negative impact on the health of the people and causes a loss of income for the hospitals. As an example, from January to June, 2021, there were 189 cases of escape at Muramvya Hospital. From May 2021 to July 2022, there were 64 cases of escape at Cibitoke Hospital. From 2018 to 2021, there were 29 cases of escape at Muyinga Hospital.
They asked the Minister of Public Health the why of those escapes and what the ministry intends to do to reduce them.
Minister Nzeyimana responded that the cases of evasion are attributable to the high bills for the costs of hospitalization services for patients who have not subscribed to any mutual health insurance or to the CAM. That is why once their health improves, they prefer to escape. To reduce those cases, the key lies in the effective implementation of the national social protection strategy which leads the country towards universal health coverage. That assumes that all citizens have health insurance.
Concerning the lack or poor condition of ambulances, she said that the ministry has taken charge of this issue and that it intends to increase them, specifying that 100 ambulances are planned, including 50 on order could arrive at the beginning of October.
Regarding communal hospitals which operate as health centers with a single doctor who plays both the role of director and attending physician, the minister responded that the problem is known. She explained that the communal hospital is in its infancy and that human resources will be gradually strengthened.
The MPs proposed to equip communal hospitals and provide them with healthcare professionals capable of using or handling medical devices for the well-being of the Burundians.
Concerning the slowness of services or the failure to provide services to patients in emergency situations in public hospitals compared to private hospitals, she indicated that we will bring order and apply sanctions to defaulters.
The deputies also proposed the regulation of the prices of medicines in pharmacies and in health structures, explaining that disorder manifests itself in the sale of these products.
The MPs also indicated that there are pharmacies or health structures which provide expired medicines, especially for the illiterate population. To this question, the minister replied that once caught, these will be closed. She asked MPs to denounce them.
They also asked the ministry to organize the States General of Health to be able to analyze all related questions.